Advantages and Limitations of Water Transport

Water transport is one of the oldest ways for transporting goods. It is also the cheapest mode of transport and thus many people prefer it. Water transport is divided into two groups – inland water transport and ocean transport. Inland water transport includes transport by rivers, lakes and canals. In this article you are going to see some of the advantages and some of the limitations of water transport that you need to know before choosing it as a transport mode for you.


  • Extremely low cost

As we already mentioned water transport is the cheapest mode of transport compared to transport by air or transport by land. There are no expenses for construction or maintenance.

  • Large capacity

Water transport is great for bigger loads. It can carry lots of heavy goods.

  • Safety

Water transport is a safe and good mode of transportation. The risks of any accidents are really low. The other forms of transport are considered much more dangerous than this one.

  • Flexibility

The service can be adjusted according to your requirements.

  • Good protection of the loads

When transported in containers or tankers, goods are well protected from sun, rain, wind, etc.



  • Very slow speed

Water transport takes a really long time to deliver your goods. If time is an important factor for you, you might consider some of the other transport modes.

  • Its seasonal character

Water transport has a seasonal character. Water may freeze in the winter or its level may be really low during a very hot summer. This will definitely affect the shipping process.

  • Limits in operation

Water transport can be really limited in its area of operation. It needs rivers or deep canals in order to operate properly.

  • It’s not suitable for small traders

Because of the long time it needs it is not suitable for all traders. Small traders can’t risk sending their goods using water transport as they might be damaged (if we are talking about food for example).

  • It depends on weather conditions

An eventual storm for example, may affect the transport.